Child of the Month
By Rich Petersen
Ana Leticia Solorio Torrez

     Shown here with her beautiful smile is Ana Leticia Solorio Torrez. Ana is nine years old and lives in Chapala where she is in the fourth grade. She has a sister Joana, 12, and a brother Isaac who is 8.
     Since the age of six months, Ana has lived with her maternal grandmother because her mother suffers from schizophrenia and is unable to care for all her children. The father, José Manual, is a carpenter’s assistant and works hard to make ends meet.
     About three years ago, Ana began having severe headaches, blurred vision and frequent episodes of vomiting. Her usual good marks in school fell to only a passing level. Because of her mother’s mental illness, the doctors were concerned that Ana might have inherited the same thing, so several tests were run but showed nothing that would indicate Ana was “schizophrenic.”
     On further questioning by her grandmother, Ana admitted that the other children at school were teasing her unmercifully about her “crazy” mother. “Tu mama está loca,” they would say, and Ana confessed that she was fearful she would be “crazy” like her mother. She worried about this constantly.
     Doctors at the Children’s Psych Unit at Hospital Civil recommended a mild tranquilizer as well as attendance at a group therapy session with her grandmother to learn more about schizophrenia and to interact with other families dealing with a similar situation. According to her grandmother, these therapy sessions were of great help to Ana, but now the family’s financial situation is such that even the 50-peso fee and bus tickets to Guadalajara are too much to handle.
     On the bright side, Ana’s grades have improved to near perfect and she finds herself less worried about herself, even though she often witnesses some of her mother’s “spells” and antics which of course cause her fears to resurface.
     At our monthly meeting a few weeks ago, Ana appeared healthy and cheerful, albeit a little shy, and told us she would like very much to return to the counseling sessions in Guadalajara as she is learning more and more about her mother’s condition. She also told us she was a great jump-roper and very much enjoyed horseback riding. One of our members gave Ana’s grandmother enough money for four therapy sessions and others said they would make similar contributions in the future, with the hope that this bright little girl will be able to better cope with a difficult family situation.
     Ana is one of the over 160 children who have been helped by Niños Incapacitados as of the end of 2004. Her family is one of the many here at Lakeside who is not eligible for other forms of medical assistance. The Program not only pays for medicines and hospital services, including lab tests and X-rays, but also for wheelchairs, prostheses and even transportation to and from doctors’ offices, laboratories and clinics.
     If you would like to find out more about our organization, please feel free to attend our monthly meetings on the first Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. at La Nueva Posada in Ajijic. Our group is looking for new members, volunteers and donors to help our Mexican families in need.
     Niños Incapacitados is in the middle of a major donor drive; perhaps you have received our email solicitation and hopefully have responded generously. Check our website at www.programaninos.org for more information on the organization and the donor drive. Or contact our President, Robin Lawrason at 766-3070 or jim2rob@laguna.com.mx.